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The Uluru Statement from the Heart and the ‘end of silence’


Amanda Lyons


18/11/2019 1:44:45 PM

As the Uluru Statement is explored, the RACGP reiterates the impact of self-determination on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

Uluru Statement from the Heart.
The RACGP reiterates its support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart as public discussion about self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continues.

The ABC Boyer lectures, an annual series of talks on ideas around major social, scientific or cultural issues, are being given this year by Rachel Perkins.
 
The award-winning filmmaker is calling for ‘the end of silence’ when it comes to the position of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australian society.
 
Ms Perkins was present at the meeting of the May 2017 First Nations National Constitutional Convention at the foot of Uluru, describing it as ‘a moment of common purpose about our hopes for the future, embodied in a message sent to the Australian people and known as the Uluru Statement from the Heart’.
 
The Uluru Statement from the Heart (the Uluru Statement) calls for an independent voice enshrined in the Australian Constitution and a Makarrata Commission to supervise agreement-making and truth-telling with governments.
 
The idea behind the Uluru Statement is to provide full inclusion of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice in the Australian Parliament, as well as a process of acknowledging the effects of colonisation in a constructive way that will enable all Australian peoples to move into the future, together.
 
The RACGP showed its support of the Uluru Statement in a previous submission to the Australian Parliament, and has acknowledged the vital importance of self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples when it comes to closing the gap in health outcomes between them and non-Indigenous Australians.
 
Associate Professor Peter O’Mara, Chair of RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, is keen to further underscore the RACGP’s position on the Uluru Statement.
 
Dr-Peter-O-Mara-speaking-Hero.jpg
Associate Professor Peter O'Mara, Chair of RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, believes GPs are vital in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healthcare.

‘The RACGP is ready to ensure the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people remains a priority as public debate on this issue continues,’ he told newsGP.
 
‘There is overwhelming evidence that when Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people take greater control over their health, there are improvements in health outcomes. So this is a way to help our patients and to empower them to have a voice in decisions about their lives and health.
 
‘As a medical organisation, the RACGP values the Uluru Statement as pathway to self-determination and, as such, a strong contributor to better health and wellbeing.’

Associate Professor O’Mara believes the RACGP’s position is especially important in light of GPs’ central role in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healthcare.
 
‘GPs are well equipped to support their patients in this regard, so the RACGP will continue to prioritise improving the quality of healthcare available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people, and to growing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander general practice workforce,’ he said.
 
‘I also encourage all of our members to think of the health and wellbeing of their own Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients when considering whether they will support constitutional change.’
 
During her first lecture for the Boyer series, Ms Perkins emphasised Uluru Statement’s grounding in hope, explaining that calls to provide constitutional recognition while recognising Australia’s colonial history is not about looking backwards, but forwards.
 
‘I take you back into this past not to dwell on it, but to demonstrate how Indigenous aspirations have been consistent and that, despite disappointment, there is a determination to be hopeful,’ she said.
 
‘This is the fuel firing the Uluru Statement from the Heart.’
 



Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health Uluru Statement


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